Going Unplugged - sharing the information with your guests.
If you landed on this page then you have either made the decision to have an unplugged wedding or are curious about what it is or maybe considering it, if not for the entire wedding, but at least the ceremony. As the photographer and the wedding couple the benefits are obvious, but encouraging your guests to put down their devices and be present in the moment can be like telling someone you are going to cut off their right arm when they attend your wedding, but it really is worth it.
Much of our lives are spent in front of a screen; ‘plugged’ into a laptop, tablet or smart phone. Whether it is for work or pleasure we get captivated and drawn into the electronic world with a device being an extention of ourselves. So how do we (photographer and wedding couple) approach this with sensitivity and respect? Your wedding guests want to take photographs, because they want memories of the day and re-live the experience of your big day. Firstly, somewhere during your communication with the guests let them know that they will have access to the pictures from the professional photographer(s) and commit to sharing with your guests, maybe even share with them how that is going to happen to give them peace of mind. Ensure that your wedding collection includes a USB of the digital images or add it as an a la carte option. If your budget doesn't stretch that far, but going unplugged is really important to you, then consider purchasing 5 digital images to share with your guests.
There are so many benefits to unplugged weddings (or ceremonies); your guests will experience the emotion of your ceremony and be present in the moment instead of viewing it through a screen. When you see your wedding images, you want to see the faces of your loved ones enjoying your nuptuels, instead of head down turned into devices. As a professional photographer we are often in situations where guests jump up in front of us at important moments to ‘take a shot’. Ultimately it is the decision of the bride and groom if you would like an unplugged wedding or not. While I will be the first to admit, as I am sure you do too, our society has an obsessive love for our hand-held devices. I also strongly believe in turning them off, showing respect and being present in the moment with the exchanging and commitment of vows.
There are many ways to share your request with your guests. The more you share, the more they will understand how important it is to you. Here are a few options, use as many or as few you think necessary.
Firstly, Talk to me (your photographer)
If this is something you are considering, but have not yet made a commitment, let's talk. Call or email me, so we can discuss your options.
Include Printed Information
Here are a few examples of printed information you can copy and paste into programs, include in your invitation packet, share on your wedding website and also have as a reminder sign at your ceremony location.
As seen above - Today is a day we will cherish forever and we are so happy that you, our nearest and dearest, are here with us. As our wedding day unfolds, we ask that you please relax, enjoy the celebration and most importantly, we urge you to be present in the festivities. We have hired our favorite photographer to capture every detail of the day so you don't have to. The last thing we want is for us or our guests to be distracted, or for our only images of you to be behind a camera. You are the most important people to have touched our lives, so what we wish most is to enjoy our time together as we unite in celebration. Thank you for respecting our wishes and for being a part of our special day!
We want you to be able to relax and have fun with us today! This in mind, we invite you to put down all your favorite devices and just be present in the moment with us. Please leave your camera in your bag (we've got the photography covered!), and put your cell phone on mute (we promise they'll call back!). We;re happy to share our professional wedding photographs later, but the greatest gift you can give us today is just being fully here with us in this sacred and special moment.
No Pictures Please - We are honored that you are here today and present with us during the ceremony. Two photographers are covering the ceremony. We request that you refrain from photography during the entire ceremony. We promise that there will be plenty of images at your disposal!
We want you to be able to really enjoy our wedding day, feeling truly present and in the moment with us. We've hired Sharon T. Simpson Photography, our favorite wedding photographer to capture the memories of our day. We're inviting each of you to sit back, relax and just enjoy how the wedding feels. We're respectfully asking that everyone consider leaving all cameras and cell phones off. Of course we will be happy to share our wedding photos with you afterward!
Remember if you have purchased a wedding collection and added the unplugged option, you have 50 complimentary cards included to share with your guests.
Wedding Day Announcements
As a reminder, have a beautiful sign as your guests enter. Although your guests have already been notified prior to the day, a little reminder brings it back to the forefront of their memory.
Include in a Program
Any of the verbiage above can be used in a Wedding Day Program. Adapt to your own specifications, make it personal to how the two of you feel. Make it from the heart; guests will respect your honesty.
The simplest way to remind your guests to power down their devices is to have your JP, officiant or pastor make a brief announcement before the ceremony. Here are a couple to help you make your announcement, from simple, to religious and emotional.....in the past I have heard a few crazy ones too, like the announcement on an airplane before take off. The choice is yours!
"The bride and groom have asked that you share in their wedding fully and not through the lens of a camera or cell phone.If you could take a moment to silence your devices and put them away."
"Good morning/afternoon/evening! It is my pleasure to welcome you to the wedding of 'Bride' and 'Groom' Please take a moment to silence any cell phones or other noisy electronics. If you would also take a moment to put your cameras away, 'Bride' and 'Groom' have requested that no photos be taken during the ceremony today — thank you so much for your understanding. The ceremony will begin shortly."
"I invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks — I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology."
"The couple respectfully requests that all guests honor the sanctity of this moment by turning off cell phones and cameras."
Enforcing Your Wishes
Appoint a member of your wedding party to help encourage other guests to put down their devices at the wedding. It doesn't have to be high-drama: all they have to do is sidle up to their fellow guest and say quietly, "The bride and groom have asked me to respectfully suggest guests to put down their electronics and just enjoy the day. Can I ask you to put your camera/phone away?". An usher is a good person to use for this job. You have requested their help at your wedding, but they are not up the front standing with the best man and groomsmen.
“Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.”
~Rosemary M. Wixom
"Let's get unplugged!"